Louis van Gaal claims he allowed Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez leave Manchester United in the summer to encourage the current crop of strikers at Old Trafford. French international Anthony Martial arrived from AS Monaco on deadline day and with Wayne Rooney has now become the leader of the Red Devils attack.
The former Arsenal captain joined Turkish club Fenerbahce, while Hernandez moved to Germany after he was signed by Bayer Leverkusen. Since joining Bayer, the Mexican international has scored 19 times for his side and won the Bundesliga Player of the Month for November and December.
"I don't believe too much in competition," Van Gaal said, as quoted by Goal.com. "I believe in trust and confidence. Maybe that's wrong, but I have done it all my life as a manager. I give trust to the players."
"We could have kept all the strikers, but then there would have been a lot of strikers in the stands. They're not happy then, they want to leave. It's the story of Hernandez, for example. He wants to play, but I can imagine that he can't always play.
"Too many strikers of high quality for the same position is too much pressure, but now I don't have the chance to change. Now I have given confidence to the players to play there."
Martial had a good start to his life in England, but the Frenchman's form has dipped. Rooney has struggled for goals. The two have scored a combined six goals in the Premier League this term.
Van Gaal also allowed James Wilson to leave Old Trafford and join Brighton and gave Hove Albion on loan until the end of the season. With lack of goals and limited options up front, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has expressed the possibility of bringing in a striker in the January transfer window to fill in the void left by Van Persie and Hernandez.
"It can be solved with money, but also on the training pitch. We're training, but scoring goals is a quality," United manager explained. "We have that quality, but at this moment there's a lack of confidence at the right time or we need to buy another striker. It's always like that."